Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too
Oh, I’m getting older too.
”Landslide,” Stevie Nicks
So what if you reached the age of reason
Only to find there was no reprieve
Would you still be a man for all seasons?
Or would you just disbelieve?
”A Man For All Seasons,” Al Stewart
Here in Rochester Thursday nights mean the weekly meeting of the Genesee Valley Gender Variants. At some point in the meeting we all introduce ourselves, giving our names, our preferred pronouns, and our answer to the weekly question. Last night’s question was “What is your favorite season?”
Quite appropriate, given that we are rapidly moving from summer into autumn. Most people answered “fall,” “winter,” or “summer,” but when it came to me, I said that my favorite season was cayenne pepper.
And that’s the way I’ve pretty much been all my life: contrary, seeing the things others miss. A lot of the credit goes to my ADD, which helps me see strange connections. For example, last night I met a woman named Regina. My mind immediately flashed on “Regina=queen, queen=Elizabeth Regina.” As soon as I made that connection I blurted out “The longest-reigning English monarch in history.” I then had to explain that what I meant was that as of yesterday, September 10, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II had become the longest-reigning English monarch in history, having just eclipsed the previous record, also set by an Elizabeth—Elizabeth Tudor, more commonly known as Elizabeth I.
When I decided to update the blog this morning, my mind was still set on seasons and change. I mentioned this to my wife, who lives a short block from major road construction along Rochester’s Inner Loop, where the work generally starts (and wakes her up) at 7 in the morning. She said that had she been there, she would have answered the question, “Winter, because it means no construction.”
A standing joke in Rochester, as I’m sure it is in similar areas, as that we have two seasons in Rochester: Winter and Construction. Another joke is “You don’t like the weather in Rochester? Wait a minute.” But I first heard this in Texas, when we moved from Pawling, New York to San Antonio. And since then, I don’t think I’ve lived anywhere that didn’t have its own variation of it.
Lake Jackson, Texas, where my parents lived for many years, has its Mosquito Festival. It’s actually in Clute, but not too many people have heard of Clute, whereas Lake Jackson is better known.
Juneau, Alaska has stores where you can buy a t-shirt with Juneau, Alaska Rain Festival: January 1 – December 31” printed on it.
And in Astoria, Oregon, you can buy one that says “Astoria, OR. It’s Not The End Of The World, But You can See It From Here.”
That’s the ADD talking again. I keep having flashes of memories of the various places I’ve lived. With those memories come faces of the people I knew. Old friends, classmates, playmates, lovers. Tommy, Esther, Christine, Stephanie, Ricky….
And those memories bring the what-ifs and the if-onlys. But that way lies madness.
And so I merely sit back, detached, watching as the faces go by, remembering them all with deep affection and gratitude.
See you later.